Kerala is popularly known as ‘Gods own country’ because of its natural beauty.In Fact there are other reasons as well to call the same name. The prime reason is the presence of historic Hindu temples ranging from Northern district of Kasargod to southern district thiruvanathapuram.This blog elaborates about such different temples which have unique festivals and traditions.
Guruvayoor Shree Krishna Temple
Guruvayoor Shree Krishna Temple temple is located in guruvayoor, a town in the central region of the kerala state. The presiding deity of the temple is a four armed Vishnu, popularly known as Guruvayoorappan.But the deity is worshipped in the form of lord krishna who is one of the incarnations of the lord vishnu. It is believed that the deity was installed by guru(teacher) and vayu(air god) and hence the temple got its name guruvayoor. The temple rituals are based on the tantric way which was originally created by the famous hindu saint adi shankara. The tantric activities of the temple are being carried out chennas nambudiris. Shree krishna janmashtami and guruvayoor ekadeshi are the few major festivals celebrated in the temple.The temple is managed by an organisation named ‘Guruvayoor Devaswom’ under the administration of govt of kerala.
In the northern side of the temple there exists a pond named rudratheertham. It is believed that lord shiva used to bath in this pond. ‘Rudra’ is another name of lord shiva and thus the pond got its name rudratheertham.
Sabarimala ayyappan Temple
Sabarimala temple is one the most famous temple in south india. This temple complex is located in the sabarimala hill in pathanamthitta district and hence it got its name. Approximately 50 million devotees visit this pilgrimage site every year, mostly during the ‘mandalakalam time’, which is considered holy by many hindus. The presiding deity of the temple of the temple is lord ayyappan. According to the belief lord ayyappan is the son of lord shiva and the female incarnation of lord vishnu, named mohini. Due to this sabarimala is considered as the meeting point of shaivism and vaishnavism.
The temple is encircled by thick forest and mountains. Any pilgrim whoever climbs the mountain will have to climb the 18 sacred steps before reaching the main temple.Every night a prayer named ‘harivarasanam’ is recited before main temple is closed.
Chottanikkara temple is a prominent temple situated in the ernakulam district. The main deity is the mother goddess bhagavathi. Since Lord mahavishnu is also worshipped here, devotees chant the alternate name of vishnu ‘narayana’ in the prayer chant.Bhagavathi is worshipped in 3 forms in this temple, in the morning as saraswathi, afternoon as bhadrakaali and in the evening as Durga. There is a popular belief that goddesses give relief to those who are suffering from mental ailments. Because of this reason, people from all parts of india visit and stay in the temple premises until they get relief from their ailment.
The famous ritual named ‘guruthipooja’ is conducted at keezhkkavu temple after the evening. Every day 5 pooja(worship) are being held in the temple. The temple administration named devaswom provides accommodation to the devotees for a reasonable price. The temple is located about 15km from the city of Kochi.
Aluva Shiva Temple
The temple is located on the banks of the periyar river. It is famous for the mahashivratri festival which is being held every year. It is believed that this temple is one among the 108 temples installed by lord parashurama. During the rainy season the periyar river overflows and washes the deity, which is popularly called as araattu. The very next day after shivaratri devotees visit the temple premises to offer ‘Bali’, which is an offering done to the forefathers. People from every part of the kerala state visit this temple. The nearest railway station is only 1km away.
There is a popular belief that Vadakkumnathan Temple is the first temple built by lord Parashurama after he created the kerala. The temple is located inside 6 acres of land. Due to the heritage of this temple, it is declared as the national monument by the government of india. The sub deities are parvathi devi, ganapathi, lord sreeram and shankaranarayana. The temple is administered by the assistant commissioner of cochin devaswom board.In the morning the temple will be open from 3AM to 10.30 AM. In the evening the temple will be opened by 4 pm and will be closed by 8.30 pm after the completion of a ritual named ‘thrippuka’. Although non hindus are not permitted inside the temple, people of all religions participate in the thrissur pooram festival. Many famous malayalam movies were shot in the premises of the temple.
This historic temple is located in the district of alappuzha. The famous sacred food ambalapuzha palpayasam is associated with this temple. The presiding deity is lord krishna. The sub deities include lord shiva, ayyappa, ganapathi, bhadrakali. The temple is administered by Travancore devaswom board. It is believed that famous hindu saint vilva mangalathu swamiyar found the divinity of this place and advised the chembakassery king to build a sreekrishna temple.
There exists a tale which binds the ambalappuzha temple and Guruvayoor temple. When tippu sultan invaded kerala, there was a fear in the air that the guruvayoor temple would get attacked by him. Due to that the priests in guruvayoor temple moved the deity of guruvayoorappan to the ambalappuzha temple. A special place was created and installed the guruvayoorappan deity there. But tippu could not do any harm to the guruvayoor temple. As a result the deity was taken back and reinstalled in Guruvayoor temple.
Attukal Bhagavathi Temple
Attukal Bhagavathi temple is a famous temple located in the state capital of kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. It is placed about 2km away from the thiruvanathapuram city in the banks of karamana river. The most famous festival in this temple is known as ‘Ponkala festival’.All the participants in this festival are women and it is in the Guinness book of world record for the largest number of women participation. The presiding deity of the temple is Bhadrakali.The other ritual conducted in the ponkala day is ‘Thalappoly ‘ in which the participants are young unmarried girls. It is believed that it helps the girls to attain good and peaceful marital life in the future.